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Taiwan Church News

3256 Edition

July 21 - July 27, 2014

Headline News

 

Restorative Justice Receives Attention After Taipei Metro Stabbing Spree Is Pleaded To Get Death Penalty

 

Reported by Hwang Yi-lek

 

After Cheng Chieh, the 21-year-old suspected attacker of 2014 Taipei Metro Stabbing Spree Event, is indicted by prosecutors for mass killings and pleaded for death penalty, how should Christians think and respond to the succeeding legal punishments? Especially, under a revenging and instinctive mindset, Taiwan society normally want such suspected criminals to pay back their lives as the trade-off price. One mother of the killed victims sadly claimed in fury and that, even Cheng Chieh would get 100 death penalties, she still can not get back her most precious son!


On July 19 a seminar is jointly organized, by the Church and Society Committee of both Taipei and Chi-Shin presbytery, to discuss the issue: how should Christian see the death penalty from this mass stabbing spree event? Dr. Chen Wen-shan, a professor from Yu-san Theological Seminary, is invited to deliver her thoughts from a theological point of view. About 70 PCT members has attended this seminar at Ta-Dau-chen Presbyterian Church.

 

Chen pointed out that this event not only impacts many Taiwanese's common belief and moral values, but also makes we Christians hard to swallow the most treasured verse in Lord's prayer: "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors". This is we Christians believe that the righteousness of God can not be separated from God's love of salvation, and God love the sinners to be saved yet not fallen.

 

After Chen demonstrates a paradoxical attitude within Taiwan mainstream opinions - while Cheng Chieh is claimed to be clear of any psychological disorder at his killing, meaning that he should be responsible for his mass stabbing spree, many highly mental retarded patients are still classified as highly violence-inclined criminals, she strongly criticizes many Christians within church also hold a double standard to see the suspected attacker like Cheng Chieh is impossible to really repent. Therefore, these Christians set up an threshold for God's grace in "justification by faith" or take a stance behind mind-body dualism, claiming that even if the criminal could be saved within the soul,  his or her body deserves death penalty to get justice.

 

Chen stresses that the idea of restorative justice, developed under a Christian culture background, intends to make the wrong-doers to understand their wrong doings in their day to day prison lives. And, to figure out more facts and truths that the legal justice could not deliver within a hasty and limited jury, the victims could be given more time to adjust their mindset until they are ready to face the wrong-doers and to understand they have rights to decide whether they want to forgive the indicted suspect or not. No healing could come after death penalty, as time is too short to do anything reconcilable except retaliation.

 

By making compensation for the past errors and facilitating a true reconciliation between the indicted and the victims, the punishment of restorative justice has to let the indicted to return his or her own society. Chen emphasized that this is a secular praxis on the theology of forgiveness and "justification by faith", as the sinner has to take the responsibility to reconcile with the victims in order to match the grace he or she assumed.

 

"Not all punishment go against Christian faith. But the death penalty is one, for sure", Chen said, this is why World Church Council and the Vatican has publicly stated their joint opinion to oppose the death penalty. As the Christian community believe that the treasured spiritual values should also be practiced to materialize in our secular society. This is the true meaning of Lords prayer: May Your Kindom Come! And death penalty is no exception.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3255 Edition

July 14 - July 20, 2014

Editorial

 

 

Editorial: The Carefully Investigated Certainty

 

 

Sinckan Manuscripts, some called it Sinckan language, is the earliest writing documents in current Taiwan existent historic records. This is a writing language used by the Siraya tribe to write contract with the Dutch. So the Taiwanese then called it Phan-Ah-Keh(the Barbarian Contract). Before the Sinkan Language appeared, there was no other written languages to communicate officially in Taiwan society. People can only exchange their ideas and thoughts orally.

 

Historically speaking Sinckan language was invented, during the ruling period (1624 ~ 1662) of the Eastern Indian Company belonging to the Dutch,  by the Dutch missionary with reference to the Siraya spoken language. To everybody's surprise, the Sinckan language was still circulated and utilized in Taiwan, even after the Dutch had left for over 150 years. Though the Chinese language became the lingua franca, dominating on Taiwan island after the Chinese had immigrated into Taiwan in volumes, we could still have some glimpses of the early Taiwan through the written records of Sinckan language which historical continuity may have  been lost and overlooked today.

 

The second Taiwanese writing system, after Sinckan language, was the Romanised spelling system or Peh-oe-ji which was brought by the Presbyterian missionaries. Through the easy-learning Romanization, people could write and spell out the spoken Taiwanese. The shortcomings of the complex and difficult Chinese character were therefore avoided and the ability of the believers to learn was enhanced. Not only the literate ratio was lifted up within the church, the believers could also read the Bible and absorb the new knowledge by themselves.

 

Especially since 1885, the significant issuance of Taiwan Church Press whose encyclopedia and versatile coverage on the topics of theology, society, education, international affairs and etc., prompting the church believers to become the important components of Taiwan society and the wonderfully good witness to our Lord God.

 

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I my self have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught"(Luke 1: 1~4). This is what Dr. Luke wrote to most excellent Theophilus in the preface of the Gospel of Luke. And the good news of Jesus Christ is thus proclaimed to the whole world through Luke's careful investigation with the certainty of the things. This is the spirit inherited by Taiwan Church Press to make the good news from Jesus to be known by the Taiwan society.

 

Every third week of each year is prescribed by PCT as the Evangelical Memorial Day Through Literature. On this very day, we ask all our PCT congregations and believers to reflect and contemplate Dr. Luke's carefully investigated certainty to write this wonderful gospel for us. And let us carry on to take up such mission and responsibility to proclaim the gospel through words, expressing our appreciation and thanksgiving to our abundantly blessing Lord God.


 
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Taiwan Church News

3255 Edition

July 14 - July 20, 2014

Church Ministry News

 

Members Of CEI 2014 Encounter The Beauty Of Taiwan At Yi-lan County

 

 

Organized by TESA(Taiwan Ecological Stewardship Association) and Earth Charter Taiwan (ECT), CEI(Caretakers of the Environment International) 2014 is held  from July 6 to 12 on the campus the Huey Deng High School at Yi-lan county of northeaster Taiwan. Over 300 high school students of 17 different countries, from Australia, Greek, USA, Holland, Ireland, Russia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Poland, Hungary, Malaysia, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark and Scotland, go to visit various kinds of ecological park, preservation lands and organic agricultural farmings in order to learn Taiwan's ecological efforts.

 

Chen Tze-mei(Nancy), General Secretary of TESA, remarks that the CEI 2014, under the headline as "Nature, Culture and Future", is expecting to do something to reduce environmental pollution, stimulate new concepts on renewable energy and exchange some ideas, through such international youth visit and learning from Taiwan's local ecological efforts.

 

Chen said, in July 2011 at Hungary, it is the first time Taiwan was invited to attend CEI annual assembly - Natural Heritage and Tourism through Biodiversity - for high school students. Afterwards, the Board of CEI authorized ECT to hold CEI 2014. The reason why Yi-lan county is picked to be the major site for tour and visit is due to her efforts to maintain an agricultural farmings with low pollution organic. And the year CEI was established is also the same year, when Taiwan was lifted from martial law rulings and when former Yi-lan Magistrate Chen Ding-nan fearlessly decided to veto the powerful intimating but colossally lucrative investment of the Sixth Naphata Cracking Plant Formosa Plastics Company to step in Yi-lan.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Members of CEI 2014 learn to know the beauty of Taiwan in the rice field.

 

Photo by Lin Yi-ying

 
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Taiwan Church News

3255 Edition

July 14  - July 20, 2014

Headline News

 

 

To Learn The Amazing Taiwan, Ecumenical Youth Receive A Wonderful "I Love Taiwan(ILT)" Campaign

 

 

Reported by Simon Lin

 

 

The 12th PCT youth missionary ILT (abbreviated for "I Love Taiwan") campaign, receiving the ecumenical youth from 23 countries to visit Taiwan society and church, has just successfully accomplished their wonderful three weeks' campaign from June 25 to July 12.

 

Rev. Cheng Chun-peng, Secretary of PCT Youth Ministry Committee, said in proud about the good team work shown in this campaign of multi-parties' organization: "We should never worry if PCT youth could handle such tour campaign or not. Rather, the church should ask if enough opportunity was given to train mature our youth".

 

Within the period of PCT ILT campaign, lots of ecumenical friends and partners come to visit and give a boost to ILT members, including the visit of youth pastors from Jesus Christ Church in Japan(JCCJ), offerings from the pastors of Presbyterian Church in Korea(PROK) and the involvement and service to local congregation from a Hungarian Protestant pastor with his wife.

 

Members of this ecumenical ILT youth campaign come from 23 countries, including UK, Germany, Australia, USA, Japan, Korea, Canada and countries from Africa and South East Asia. Hosted by the youth from 19 PCT local churches, ILT members join many kinds of activity, visit and local services specially arranged for them, in order to understand how God's love stands together with Taiwan's society, church, homeland cultures and international situations.

 

To exchange ideas and open up personal visions, ILT youth are invited to attend kinds of "saloon workshop" about different public issues like human rights, gender/sex, nuclear power and economics respectively. They are introduced to tour Taiwan's congress, learning to know the famous 318 Sunflower Student Movement and the protest of Cross Straight Trade And Service Agreement, which PCT are deeply involved to speak up for Taiwan society. In order to learn PCT's stance on the issue of LGBT movement, ILT youth visit Taipei's real LGBT site and exchange their thoughts afterwards.

 

Also, ILT youth go to visit Gi-Kon Presbyterian Church, where the most hideous political assassination happened in Taiwan's modern history, to learn how PCT proceed the pastoral care toward the families of the politically inflicted victims. The special project of the holistic community buildup, integrating church lives into the local community, is a very unique tour for ILT youth to learn PCT's mission model to build Kingdom of God on earth.

 

Alan Wei, a youth from Canada, feels very much inspired after he goes to visit the cemetery of Rev. George Leslie Mackay and learn so much about his missionary contribution to Taiwan society. Peter Mondol, from Bangladesh, feels very much impressive by the hospitality of Shu-lin Presbyterian Church of Taipei presbytery and the leadership of their church co-workers. In the past, he thought that Taiwan is a part of China. But, now he understands why Taiwan insists she is an independent and sovereign country.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

ILT youth attend the campaign to experience the printing operation of Taiwan's first printing machine, donated by Scotland's Doctor James Laidlaw Maxwell in 1880 and assembled by Scotland's Missionary Rev. Thomas Barclay in 1885. Now this historic printing machine is installed at Taiwan Church Press, Tainan.

 

Photo supplied by PCT Youth Ministry Committee

 
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Taiwan Church News

3254 Edition

July 7  - July 13, 2014

Headline News

 

By A Memorial Music Concert,  Dr. Chen Wen-chen Is Commemorated On His Contribution To Taiwan's Democracy

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 

In the early morning, on July 3rd 1981, Dr, Chen Wen-chen, a very young and talented mathematics professor of Carnegie-Mellon Univ., was found brutally murdered and lied beside National Taiwan University's Graduate Library. To commemorate this passionate and brave fighter for Taiwan's democracy, Dr. Chen Wen-chen's Memorial Foundations held a musical concert, called "Melody of Island Country", inviting Homeland Chamber Ensemble to present their performance and commemorate Dr. Chen on July 5th at Taipei's Civil Service Development Institute.

 

Ms Chen Pao-yueh, senior sister of Chen Wen-chen and also the Managing Director of Dr Chen Wen-chen's Memorial Foundations, remarked sadly that the reason why this hideous assassination of Chen Wen-chen still cannot achieve the justice is due to a confused ethical standard and a weak sense of self-autonomy within Taiwan society, not to mention a common desire to establish an independent state. In other words, it could be attributed to a slavery mentality resulted from Taiwan's long term occupation by colonial powers.

 

"As an independent and sovereign nation, Taiwan's legal status as a state is a fact beyond doubt. Taiwan, with her 23 millions people, does not have to decide whether they want to be an independent country or not", said Ms Chen Pao-yueh. The decision Taiwan has to make is what kinds of government they want to bring them the greatest prosperity and well-fare. And such legitimate ideal and goal, in a same spirit with the Sunflower Student Movement this March, is analogous to what Dr. Chen Wen-chen is after.

 

Mr Liu Pin-suo, President of Dr Chen Wen-chen's Memorial Foundations, points out that the Sunflower Student Movement is in essence a people's warfare: protecting Taiwan's democratic freedom and human rights, protesting against a politico-economical  take-over from China, and preventing generations of Taiwanese to become slaves for the Chinese empire. And the brave spirit shown by the students to occupy the Taiwan congress, demonstrating the determination to seek democracy, freedom and independence within the international communities, is just like the fearless spirit of Dr. Chen Wen-chen bequeathed to Taiwan society.

 

No justice, no future. The Board of Directors of Dr. Chen Wen-chen's Memorial Foundations unanimously expresses that the politically assassination case of Dr. Chen Wen-chen is not yet over, though there is a statue of limitation of 30 years in Taiwan's criminal law. Because Chen's case is not like the common homicide cases, but a case with serious human rights infringement, related to the higher level violence from the state. Either morally or politically, there is no statue of limitation for such infringement of human rights by corporate state violence.

 

After lifting martial law in 1987, Taiwan has entered a new era of neo-authoritarianism since Ma Ying-jeou regime hesitantly passed many China-inclined economical agreements without the approval from Taiwan society. Such repugnant state violence does not get a serious response from Taiwan people, as the ideal of justice seems still too much blurred, vulnerable and far-fetched. And we have reasons to believe that the unjust state power and interference would flood into Taiwan society soon!

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

A family picture of Dr. Chen Wen-chen, his wife Chen Su-jen and their baby boy.

Photo by Hwang Chien-hsien / Dr. Chen Wen-chen's Memorial Foundations

 

Expecting a future Taiwan with Justice, Homeland Chamber Ensemble is invited to perform at a music concert - Melody of Island Country - at Dr. Chen Wen-chen's 33rd anniversary commemoration on July 5th 2014 at Taipei's Civil Service Development Institute.

 

Photo by Hwang Chien-hsien / Dr. Chen Wen-chen's Memorial Foundations


 
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Taiwan Church News

3253 Edition

June 30 - July 6, 2014

Headline News

 

Students And Citizens Rally Before The Legislative Yuan, Protesting Against The Act of Free Economic Pilot Zones

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

From June 25th to 28th, among a historical visit in Taiwan by the Minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), KMT Lawmaker Huang Chau-sun maneuvers to pass the Draft for Free Economic Pilot Zones(FEPZs) within the legislative agenda on June 26th. After learning KMt's plot to pass this contentious bill, which is afraid to degrade Taiwan's sovereignty, many student movement groups - Restoration of Taiwan Social Justice, Wing of Radical Politics, Unit of The 2nd Floor's FEPZs, Democracy Kuroshio - and the civil group of Plebiscite For Taiwan all rally before the congress to express their most serious protest.

 

Among the eviction of the police to force out the citizens from the protesting site, two students are injured and sent to MacKay Memorial Hospital instead of the nearest Taiwan University Hospital(TUH) in order to inspect the wounds and receive the medic-care. This is because YUH as a government-affiliated institute is not trusted by the protesting public during March student movement, as witnessed by their unhelpful and unclear medical records saying nothing about the brutality imposed by the police; yet MacKay Memorial Hospital dared to declare what they found on the wounds of the evicted people.

 

Except expressing her concern for the two injured student, PCT also reiterates her insistence to support Taiwan's sovereignty and firmly stand against the China-inclined policy of FEPZs and Cross Strait Service Trade Act(CSSTA).

 

Hsu Yon, a representative of student movement group, points out that there are many controversial issues related to FEPZs, such as food security, education system, land subscription, loosening medic-care regulation and etc. There are lots of irreversible and unpredictable consequences for Taiwan once this bill is rudely passed. And it is why so many student movement groups and civil groups would stand up to rally against passing this contentious bill via the crude majority voting of the ruling party.

 

There are 4 common proposals raised by the rallying groups: first, Against China Impact to interfere the domestic affairs within Taiwan; second, Against the Special Act to Separate Taiwan's land in the guise slogan of "One Nation, Two System"; third, Against the non-negotiable majority voting by the ruling party; forth, a mass people rally would be summoned once the above proposals could not be complied by the government.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Protesting against the impromptu reading of the Draft of FEPZs, maneuvered to pass by KMT, student groups and civil groups rally before the Legislative Yuan on June 26th.

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

Police and the protesting crowd are pushing away each other.

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

During the protest, a seriously injured student is sent to hospital.

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 
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